Saturday, February 16, 2008

Remember--You Heard It Here First

About a month ago, I introduced the gentle reader to a fellow named Kevin Fischer. The story has grown, and more and more bloggers started to look into the stories behind the story.

Now it is even bigger. It is in the newest edition of Milwaukee Magazine. Their newest edition just came out in the mail, and it is not on their website yet, but when they do update it, it can be found here.

The article is in the "insiderpressroom" section of the magazine and is written by Erik Gunn. The article is titled "Hey Cheescake Breath!" and the teaser is:
Nasty, bickering blogs have lowered the quality of Journal Communications' suburban weeklies.

Mr. Gunn starts out with a brief history of how Journal Communications bought out the CNI papers and systematically perverted them into the current NOW templates. Then it gets good:
Perhaps no one exemplifies the sort of juvenile name calling that goes on better than Kevin Fischer, a longtime Republican operative who works as a legislative aide to state Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin). Fishcer is a Franklin Blogger who has accused the city's school board and administration of being "unethical" and has engaged in a running battle with blogger Greg Kowalski, a college student who is on the Franklin Environmental Commission. Fischer called Kowalski "cheesecake breath" in a comment on Kowalski's blog in January, and barred Kowalski from commenting on Fischer's

The site features a similar war pitting blogger and ex-school board member Linda Richter against blogger Matt Thomas, current vice president of the board and a leader of its conservative majority. Talk about getting personal: Richter publicized the bankruptcy records of Thomas on her blog to undermine his claim as a champion of fiscal sobriety.

Mark Maley, the CNI executive who oversees the NOWWeb sites, doesn't see a serious problem. "Even with the skirmishes, nobody's been sued," he says. "It's basically been a handful of people tossing mud. There's been some online behavior that I'm not thrilled about, but the vast, vast majority is pretty positive stuff." Even some of the people involved in the verbal duels have also engaged in enterprising work, like airing details of community development projects or conducting open-records requests for officials' e-mails.

Yet as a coherent source of information - or even reasoned analysis - the blogs largely fail. One anonymous commenter pronounced them "a trashy, useless, and inflammatory method of modern communication." A former vlogger who quing in disgust wrote, "We don't need a dogfight...we want debate." And New Berlin Mayor Jack Chiovatero says his administration has opted not to post press releases online because of the blogs. "They're negative and filled with wrong information," he says. "If we post our information on there, people won't know if it's true or not."

But bad journalism might be what the readers want. "I'm not crazy about it," Maley says. "But the FranklinNOW site has rapidly become our No. 2 Web site rather than 6 or 7."

Please note: All emphasis is from the article. Any misspellings are my own, and I apologize.

A tip of the hat to John Michlig for the heads up.


  1. Hmmm ...some call it trashy but if it exposes government employees using state equipment and time to attack people in childish manners....guess it ain't all bad?

  2. Just so you mean left wing hat ekings know, you will get blamed for the demise of another poor helpless conservative job just like you got blamed for McBride

  3. I won't cry if Kevin Fischer gets in trouble, because he deserves what he's got coming. Perhaps if he acted in a manner more befitting a person in his position, he wouldn't find himself being attacked.

  4. At least they spelled my last name right! (Ahem, Capper...)

    The sad part is - EVERYONE will now know my love of the Cheesecake Factory. Darn!

  5. What? I got it right this time, Mr. Kwalknskonvkjsni

  6. OK, Capper - let's not OVERDO it!

    Very funny, though.